“Having a sibling means you are never truly alone here.” – Roar, 10 years old
Juggling two or more children has its own challenges, but the biggest worry for most parents who are welcoming the second child, is how the first child will react to the new baby. Adding another person to the family changes the dynamic and requires change. It is sometimes difficult for parents of one child to think they could possibly love the next child as they do the first. It is one of life’s miracles when we learn how a heart grows. Whether you are feeling nervous, stressed out or hakuna matata, here are a few recommendations to make the transition easier for the kiddo(s) at home.
- Tell your child about the new addition yourself – try not to let it come as a surprise. Younger children may not be able to comprehend time. Associate the new baby with an event or season. “Little sister will come when the leaves have fallen from the trees.” Answer their questions as simply and honestly as you can. Do your best not to divorce, start a new school, toilet train or move near the time of the baby’s arrival.
- If possible, take your child with you to OB appointments or watch videos from the March of Dimes about the growth and development of the baby. Reassure your child that you will love them forever. Several wonderful programs exist to help you stay in touch with your child, help their brain develop and spend time together. Try these easy websites and apps like Vroom and Moments Together. Take advantage of little moments that will mean a lot.
- When the baby arrives, teach your child how to hold the baby properly. They will be so proud! Ask the older sibling’s advice: “Should sister wear the blue t-shirt or the blue dress?” Help them know they are a “super sibling” and maybe even let them wear a cape! Read stories with them about their new role as an older sibling. Start their own library card while you are at it. You can order books online. Your child may role model what they see, including breastfeeding! Acknowledge your child’s feelings. They may not seem affected or they may regress some. Both are fine and normal.
- Remember to take a little time for you. Rest when you can. Say “no” when you can. Only do what you must. Build in extra minutes to your schedule and plan ahead. It is okay to ask for help. When people offer to help, say “yes”. There will be moments of exhaustion and fatigue, and there will be moments of exquisite joy and wonder. Stop for just a minute. Breathe. Take it all in. You have what it takes.
For an appointment with an OB/GYN or midwife, please call Lovelace Care Concierge at 505.727.2727. For connection to more great community resources during pregnancy, call Lovelace Labor of Love 505.727.7677.